Scientists have succeeded in unveiling a strong biological link that exists
between chronic inflammation caused by an over-active immune system,
accelerated ageing and associated diseases, and shortened lifespan.
They also discovered that the widely used over-the-counter painkiller
ibuprofen could act as a simple and cheap antidote against the toxic effects of
In a series of experiments conducted on inflammation-prone mice that were
genetically engineered to age fast, researchers discovered that ibuprofen
served the dual purpose of suppressing the animals' inflammation, as well as
restoring their ageing rate to normal levels.
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used daily by
millions of people around the world to treat headaches, muscle aches, sprains
and flu symptoms.
While trying to figure out the association between inflammation and ageing,
scientists found that inflammation emitted oxygen-free radicals, which are
destructive reactive molecules, which in turn caused damage to DNA and
telomeres which function as protective "caps" on chromosomes.
Telomere loss led to a state of arrested growth and normal functioning of
cells, also known as "senescence" which is believed to cause ageing. Greater
senescence led to further generation of free radicals, creating a vicious
Scientists found that NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and anti-oxidants, can resist
the accumulation of senescent cells.
Diana Jurk, one of the scientists, said: "The most important result of the
study is that treatment with a simple and cheap anti-inflammatory drug,
ibuprofen, could reverse the progression of cell senescence and restore the
ability of tissues to regenerate."
The scientists are now focusing on human patients, including a group of
around 200 people with Parkinson's disease, also affected by accelerated